Sunday, May 11, 2008

Leapin' Lapin

If it seems as though I am obsessed with bunnies lately, it is because they are ubiquitous this time of year. The books say that our breed of desert cottontail is capable of giving birth year round, but there is no doubt that at this latitude and altitude, the months between winter cold and summer heat are the prime time for mating and birth. One of the things that seems to take place during these activities is that they become oblivious to all other creatures, including humans, as they concentrate completely on their own kind. That allows me to get closer than normal to capture photos of the irresistible rodents.
In folklore and cartoons bunnies are always portrayed as hopping creatures. There is no doubt that is a result of the way they move their front two feet and then their back two feet in synchronization. There is another hop that is common this time of year and I was lucky enough to capture it in action this morning. Ken thinks it happens when a male and a female face off but I am not so sure. I have never seen it result in a mating and I think it may be more of a male to male exhibit of macho prowess. It starts when the two come face to face. They circle warily like a pair of sumo wrestlers until one suddenly leaps straight up in the air. Often the other will react by following suit and eventually one gives up and runs away. You can just about walk right up to them during this ritual and they will ignore your presence entirely as they concentrate on each other.

The photo I got was not the best but considering I have been trying unsuccessfully to capture a mid-leap image for some time, I am quite happy to have recorded anything!

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